Visas

To re-enter the US, or to apply for a new entry visa, please review the information below to make sure you prepare the necessary documentation:

F-1 Student:

  1. a valid and signed I-20 with a recent travel signature (less than six months old is recommended)
  2. a valid passport
  3. a valid F-1 visa *
  4. proof of registration (print out your class schedule)
  5. your TAMUK student ID card
  6. if you are applying for a new visa: original bank statements, a letter verifying your assistantship (if you have one), a letter from your sponsor (if you have one)
  7. if you have an F-2 dependent, they will need items a, b, c (F-2 visa) listed above
  8. For more information on travel outside of the US, visit the ICE website

J-1 Student:

  1. a valid and signed DS-2019 with a recent travel signature (less than six months old is recommended)
  2. a valid passport
  3. a valid J-1 visa *
  4. proof of registration (print out your class schedule)
  5. your TAMUK ID Card
  6. if you are applying for a new visa: original bank statements, a letter verifying your assistantship (if you have one), a letter from your sponsor (if you have one)
  7. if you have an J-2 dependent, they will need items a, b, c (J-2 visa) listed above

F-1 on OPT:

  1. a valid and signed I-20 with a recent travel signature (less than six months old is required while on OPT)
  2. a valid passport
  3. a valid F-1 visa *
  4. a valid EAD card
  5. proof of employment/job offer letter
  6. if you are applying for a new visa: original bank statements, a letter verifying your assistantship (if you have one), a letter from your sponsor (if you have one)
  7. if you have an F-2 dependent, they will need items a, b, c listed above

* If you are a citizen of Canada and hold a Canadian passport, an entry visa is not required to enter the US from Canada. 

Automatic Visa Revalidation (AVR): An expired US entry visa is considered to be automatically extended to the date of re-entry as long as that visa has not been canceled, and that an application for a new visa has not been submitted. AVR is applicable to travel to Canada, Mexico, and the adjacent islands (excluding Cuba) for a period of less than 30 days.  Be sure to check the entry requirements of your destination country to determine if an entry visa for that country is required. 

  1. only travel for less than 30 days to the territory where AVR is applicable (travel to PR China via Canada does not qualify for AVR)
  2. citizens of Mexico must have a valid visa to re-enter from Mexico
  3. citizens of Iran, Syria, Sudan or Cuba may not take advantage of AVR

Obtaining a new visa: A visa to the US may only be obtained at a US Embassy or Consulate outside of the United States. When applying for a new visa, please contact the consulate you will visit to determine if an appointment is required, if you are eligible to apply for a visa at that location, what documentation is required for the application, and if you need an entry visa to visit the country where the US Embassy is located. You may find the websites of all US Embassies and Consulates by visiting: http://usembassy.state.gov.

Obtaining a US Visa in Canada or Mexico: You may be eligible to apply for a US Visa in Canada or Mexico. The locations of US Consulates in Canada include: Calgary, Halifax, Montreal, Ottawa (embassy), Quebec City, Toronto, and Vancouver. The locations of US Consulates in Mexico include: Ciudad Juarez, Matamoros, and Tijuana.  Special note for Mexican Consulates: you can apply for a new visa of the same type in Mexico, but Mexican embassies no longer allow you to apply for a visa of a new type.  For example, an F-2 dependent can no longer go to Mexico to apply for a visa to change status from F-2 to F-1. 

You may schedule an appointment by telephone (a charge will be applied to your phone bill): 
1-900-443-3131 (from the US) 
1-900-451-2778 (from Canada)

For information on entry visas to Canada and Mexico, please contact the respective consulates of those countries:

Citizenship and Immigration Canada
Consulate General of Mexico in Atlanta 

Note: The Canadian Consulate in Atlanta does not issue visas.

Travel Signatures for F and J Status:

F-1/J-1 Students:

  1. submit your I-20/DS-2019 to OISSS to request a travel signature
  2. there is a 2-3 business day processing time
  3. please inform OISSS if you will be applying for a new visa so we can verify that you will be taking the correct documents
  4. submit your request at least two weeks before you wish to travel
  5. a travel signature is valid for one year if you are a currently enrolled student and six months for students on OPT or OPT Extension.

Domestic Travel: No I-20/DS-2019 signature endorsement is required for domestic travel.  However, for domestic travel we always recommend you bring your passport, DS-2019 or I-20 form, and I-94 Departure Record card with you to avoid any unnecessary confusion about your identity and/or reason for being in the U.S.  (Also, don’t forget to keep copies of all of your immigration documents in a safe place in case the originals should ever be lost.)  If you travel down south to the Mexico/US board, such the valley, you must bring your passport, visa, form I-20/DS-2019, I-94 with you.